[No comments on how long it took me to do this - the delay is caused by the fact that Louise does her reading and her homework NOT at the last minute. That being said, there was some writer's block with this, but I have the next section in my head, and should be getting it down after I take a break and do some more reading. Anybody's who's never read The Bonfire of the Vanities - Good luck if you decide to do it.]
I dialed my home number on his phone while scooting closer. My mother picked up on the third ring, and if she was watching TV she was probably confused as to who was calling. Kudos to her for picking up.
"Hi. Mama." I looked at the closet, then the picture of my niece, pretty much anywhere that wasn't in the general direction of Murphy.
"Where are you calling from?" She was concerned. Worried. Nothing new there.
"From Murphy's phone." Who I had yet to tell her about.
"Who?" She paused. "Murphy? A boy?"
Yup. That's my mother. "Yes, Murphy is a boy."
Murphy cocked his head to the side but said nothing.
Enough with the third degree already. "Yes." Oh. Well, why not throw caution to the proverbial win and all that jazz? "Mama?" It was that tone of voice that said I had something to tell her, and she might not like it. Which trumped the news of the boyfriend.
"I sprained my ankle. Bad." It was best not to skirt the issue.
Silence. Say something, Mama. Something. Anything.
"When can you go without crutches?"
We had been through this type of scenario before. It was almost always a given that when I wound up in the ER for the joint at the bottom of my left shin that I would hobble out on armpit legs. It was so much a given it might as well have been a universal law.
"Four weeks, no weight."
"I see. Are you in pain?"
"I have Tylenol." And Murphy, my porta-furnace. "And it doesn't hurt." There was another pause. She was gearing up for more questions about Murphy. That was also a given during silences like this.
"How long have you and this boy...?"
"Six days. Almost a week." I looked at said boyfriend, his face carefully neutral. "His name is Murphy."
"That's ironic for you," she said with a chuckle.
"Olivia, remember that you're - "
"I know." There for academics first, everything else second, and, given half a chance, she would probably launch into a sex talk of some sort which I honestly did not need to hear. "Mama, I gotta do some homework and try to get to bed early. I call you tomorrow."
"Call me tomorrow." Which, was not a question, and not a statement. More of a demand, than anything. Said in the voice that the universe bestows upon people when they become parents.
"I will. I love you, Mama."
"Love you too, Olivia. Talk to you tomorrow."
I closed Murphy's phone softly and looked at him. "I hadn't told her. I'm sorry."
Murphy leaned in close and kissed my nose. I smiled. That was probably his intention. "I haven't told my mother and I made my twin promise to keep his mouth shut." He shrugged. "Next time I phone home..."
It wasn't a matter of embarrassment - far from it, actually. It was just...telling your parents that you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend changes things in a way. It changes your social life, and your academic life, too, and...parents some times don't help the situation. Or they blow your mind, like my mother sometimes does to me. From what I can tell - so far - she's okay with Murphy. And that's more than I expected.
He scooted back against the wall, taking me with him to tuck into his furnace-like warmth. The busted appendage was resting on his shin.
"You tell Liam I broke myself?"
"Ah, no. I figured you would want to do that. Or wait until tomorrow."
I looked at him. "Aren't we going out tomorrow?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes."
Know what? I trust him. "Okay." My ear found his chest.
"This is a nice room," he said after a moment. "The little girl your niece?"
"Yup. That's Elizabeth." That little girl made my heart hurt, I loved her so much. "She turned two in July."
"She cute. Like her aunt."
My cheeks warmed. If that had come from anybody else I would have shook my head and told him to stuff it, but it came from Murphy. Murphy was genuine. That was one of the things that I liked so much about him - he was genuine, sweet, and sincere.
"Cute like her mama," I said, oddly content. Content and tired. I'd had a shitty day. And now I was comfortable.
"I don't know that. I've never seen her mama."
"Photo on the printer."
Pause. "Oh. Yeah, cute like her mama, I guess."
I shamelessly snuggled closer.
"You want me to go so you can sleep?" Murphy asked softly.
"Nope. Just stay right here. S'not like your roommate doesn't know where you are."
Murph chuckled. "Alright." He rested his cheek on the top of my head. "You like chicken, right?"
"I haven't poisoned anyone yet."
"Well, that's good."